The Pythons started the second half of the season at a very windy Wharfedale – leading for 90% of the game Dale’s last kick at goal was successful, 25-23.
Playing with the wind James Audsley-Beck scored within 30 seconds of the start marking his return from a long term injury, Will Clough adding the extras. Peter Millward returned the kick off some 40m brushing aside would be tacklers only for an interception 2 phases later and the home side cross the line, 5-7 after 2mins. Dale run everything from the re start but The Pythons hold them within their 22 with some committed tackling from Sam Rowntree, Millward and Ed Challis. Pressure gives Clough 2 shots at goal, 5-13 on 20 mins.
The home side continue with their driving game into the wind and gained a penalty at the breakdown on half way. Their influential number 8 takes a quick one and runs through some indifferent tackling to score next to the posts, 12-13 on 30 mins. Dale were quickly back into Pythons’ territory setting a ruck on the 10m line. The number 8 spots a gap and almost identical to his first try, brushes aside tacklers to score under the posts, 19-13 on 39 mins.
Jed Carr led his side back into the Dale 22 and pressure from The Pythons’ big ball carriers gives them a penalty. Carr opts for the scrum. The Pythons pack holds firm, Clough feeds Carr who floats a perfectly weighted pass to Hugh Tatlow playing in the centre who crashes over. Clough adds the extras 19-20 half time.
The Pythons faced the howling gale in the second half and a well structed defence stopped the home side from crossing the white wash. Clough extended the lead, 19-23, Dale penalised some indiscipline 22-23 and with seconds remaining their calm stand off landed a 40m attempt to win the game, 25-23.
After the game coach Dan Bird said,” This was a performance to be proud of. The conditions were incredibly challenging for both teams but all things considered we felt like we should have came out on top. Tiny errors in the final minutes of the game led to a penalty opportunity that Wensleydale converted. As a squad we will reflect on moments earlier in the game, particularly in the first half, that we should have converted into greater points. In the second half we showed tremendous determination in defence and weather passages of high pressure really well. As a group we remain positive and will need to target the second half of the season to secure Counties 1 safety.”